Easterseals Receive $1M in State Budget to Build Severe Behavior Autism Center – Orange County Register

A $1 million grant from the state is helping Easterseals in Southern California spark the development of more services for children with autism who are developing serious behaviors that can isolate them at school and in the community.

The money was secured with help from Rep. Steven Choi and will launch a fundraising campaign by the Irvine-based Easterseals to raise another $6-7 million to open a new facility in Orange County and significantly boost the severe behavior services program to expand.

Currently, the program is able to help approximately 18 children by working intensively with them over several months to address serious behaviors, such as “repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts” that can develop and lead to isolation of the children and their families.

Working with children in a more neutral environment like the planned new state-of-the-art center with all the equipment, safety measures and furniture can help develop tools and strategies to encourage children to become more independent or perhaps return to a classroom, said Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Chief Clinical Officer for Easterseals.

Easterseals is Southern California’s largest autism service provider, serving more than 13,000 children and their families annually.

In 2020, when it took over the Center for the Behavioral Sciences’ outpatient program, it began working more with children who exhibited the more severe behaviors.

Pompa-Craven said Easterseals, working with the more knowledgeable staff at the CBS program, found how many “people fall through the cracks because of the severity of their behavior,” and there really wasn’t another center-based program like this one in California.

“Families have had to leave the state to receive these intensive behavioral services,” she said, adding Easterseals plans to expand its offerings with more crisis intervention, research, training for professionals, and resources for families.

With a new building, Pompa-Craven says Easterseals could start helping more than 100 children at a time — and likely create as many jobs, too.

And once fundraising for a new building is successful, she said a program would be self-sustaining because it would be covered by most health insurance plans.

“This is such a much-needed service,” said Pompa-Craven. “The challenge is the startup.”

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/12/easterseals-get-1-million-in-state-budget-to-build-an-autism-center-for-severe-behaviors/ Easterseals Receive $1M in State Budget to Build Severe Behavior Autism Center – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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